United States District Court, S.D. New York
September 1, 2004.
SHARON NIVEN, Plaintiff,
JO ANNE BARNHART, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENISE COTE, District Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
On November 24, 2003, Sharon Niven ("Niven") filed this action
pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to
obtain review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for disability
benefits. Niven has moved for judgment on the pleadings arguing
that she is unable to perform even sedentary work and asking that
the Commissioner's decision be reversed, or that the action be
remanded for a new hearing. The Commissioner has cross-moved for
judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons that follow, the
decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
The following facts are taken from the administrative record.
Niven was born June 30, 1956 and was 44 years olds at the alleged
onset of her disability. She has a high school education and is
the mother of two children. Niven worked as a bartender, which
required the ability to stand for long periods of time and
minimal lifting, until 1999 when the restaurant where she worked
closed. Niven states that she did not seek further employment
because of her back pain.
Overview of Application History
On February 7, 2002, Niven submitted an application for
disability benefits and Supplementary Security Income to the
Social Security Administration. Niven asserted that she had been
disabled since March 1, 2001, due to back pain, migraine
headaches and depression. The applications were denied and Niven
filed a timely Request for Hearing. Niven appeared before
Administrative Judge Newton Greenberg ("ALJ") on February 24,
2003. On April 16, 2003, the ALJ determined that Niven was able
to "sit for 6 hours, stand for 2 hours and lift up to 10 pounds."
The ALJ found, inter alia, that
Medical evidence establishes that claimant is
diagnosed with findings consistent with discogenic
disorder of the lumbosacral spine and rule-out major
depressive episode in partial remission,*fn1 but
that she does not have an impairment or combination
of impairments listed
in, or medically equal to one listed in Appendix 1,
Subpart P, Regulations No. 4.*fn2 . . .
The claimant's statements regarding the severity of
the alleged symptoms and degree of functional
limitations are not credible. . . .
There is sufficient evidence to support the findings
regarding the claimant's residual functional capacity
at step five.*fn3 . . .
The claimant has mild limitation in activities of
daily living; no limitation in social functioning;
mild limitation in concentration, persistence or
pace; and no documented episode of decompensation.
The ALJ concluded that Niven was not disabled and "retains the
residual functional capacity for unskilled, sedentary work." In
July 2003, the Appeals Council denied Niven's request for review
and the ALJ's decision became final.
Niven's relevant medical history begins in June 2001, when she
underwent an initial psychological assessment at the Bellevue
Hospital Center ("Bellevue") for complaints of depression that
surfaced after her husband left her and her three-year old son.
An examination of June 21 and 28 showed that the plaintiff was
cooperative and well-groomed. Her thought process and thought
content were within normal limits. While Niven did not have any
suicidal ideation, her mood was depressed. Niven told the
examiner that she had been feeling better, but complained of
recent stress after a welfare agency visit. The examiner's
diagnosis was: Axis I major depression episode, rule out
adjustment disorder; Axis II deferred; Axis III none; Axis IV
unemployment; and Axis V 60.*fn4
Niven again sought medical attention on July 19, 2001, where
she reported that she was presently taking Celexa and was
experiencing "minor" back pain. The examining physician's
assessment was that she was suffering from anxiety, a migraine,
and a urinary tract infection.
Throughout 2001, Niven continued to seek medical treatment at
Bellevue. On August 6, 2001, Niven reported increased lower back
pain and depression, but that she was taking Celexa which gave
her some relief from her depression. There was no evidence of
bruises or trauma, no sensory deficit to the lower extremities,
and strength and flexibility were normal. The physician's
assessment was low back pain, questionably due to old trauma.
Valium and Motrin were prescribed. On August 22, 2001, Niven
returned to Bellevue complaining of severe left flank pain which
was likely due to a kidney stone. A lumbar spine x-ray was within
normal limits. On September 10, 2001, a CT-scan revealed no
evidence of a kidney stone, and Niven told her physician that her
subsided and she was able to tolerate her present discomfort
without medication. She walked without discomfort and no deficit
was observed in her gait.
On October 19, Niven was assessed at Bellevue's pain treatment
center. While Niven stated that she was not working because of
"severe depression" and that walking or sitting in one position
exacerbated her lower back pain, she indicated that she was able
to perform activities of daily living and that she had a good
response to Tylenol with codeine and hot showers. An examination
revealed no reflex abnormalities or loss of motor function. Niven
was diagnosed with lower back pain and referred to physical
On November 2, Niven was seen at Bellevue's rehabilitation
medicine service. Niven complained of back tenderness that was
exacerbated by sitting and walking. She was found to have tight
hamstrings and generalized palpable tenderness in the lumbar
spine area. Niven performed a straight leg test normally and her
lower extremities had normal strength. Niven was again diagnosed
with lower back pain and the attending physician prescribed
In an examination on November 5, 2001, a consulting physician,
Dr. Clyde Weissbart concluded that Niven was able to perform
sedentary activity with moderate limitations in activities
involving sitting, standing, walking and lifting. On November 8,
Niven was diagnosed with, among other things, low pack pain,
anxiety, and depressive disorder. During an examination on
December 10, 2001, Niven remarked that rehabilitation was helping
a lot, her condition was "much improved," and she was "happy."
Niven was seen again at Bellevue's pain clinic on December 14,
where she reported that therapy was helping, but she was still
experiencing intermittent left, low back pain. During an
examination two weeks later, Niven reported that her back
discomfort increased with activity. She maintained normal motor
strength and an intact sensory function. Niven could walk on her
heels and toes and straight leg raising was negative. The
attending physician' diagnosis was continuing low back pain.
On February 7, 2002, Niven filed her application for benefits.
At a February 8 examination, Niven reported that physical therapy
had provided minimal relief. The examination again revealed that
Niven could walk on her heels and toes and she had some
paraspinal tenderness. Niven was instructed to return to physical
therapy, and obtain treatment at an acupuncture clinic.
In a report dated March 4, 2002, Dr. Katherine Mobisson,
Niven's treating physician at Bellevue diagnosed Niven with a
major depressive episode, lower back pain, and migraine
headaches. The report revealed that Niven had participated in
weekly psychotherapy since July 1, 2001, and was being treated
with a stabilizing medicine called Effexor. While the report
indicated that Niven had been unable to work due to psychiatric
issues, the reporting physician noted that Niven would be stable
enough in a few months to complete her vocational and educational
services for individuals with disability ("VESID")
program*fn5 and return to
gainful employment "for which she is motivated." Another March 4
report*fn6 stated that Niven was limited in her bending,
stooping, and crouching. This report stated that Niven could
perform "light, sedentary work," including lifting up to 15
pounds. Neither report precluded Niven from sedentary work
An examination of Niven on March 21 revealed that her sensation
and reflexes were intact and a straight leg raising was normal.
Her muscle strength was a 5 on a scale of 0 to 5.*fn7 An
x-ray from August 2001 was reported as negative. Dr. Mario
Mancheno conducted a consultative examination of Niven on May 8,
2002. During the examination Niven reported that she does her own
cooking, shopping, and carrying. Niven reported that her pain was
aggravated by sitting for more than three hours, standing for
more than 60 minutes, and walking for more than 16 blocks.
Acupuncture, Ultram, and rest helped relieve her symptoms. The
examination revealed that Niven did not have difficulty rising
from her chair, dressing and undressing. Niven also had no
difficulty getting on and off the examination table, lying down,
or walking toe/heel. Dr. Mancheno diagnosed Niven with findings
consistent with discogenic disorder of the lumbosacral spine. Dr.
Mancheno concluded that Niven had mild limitations in
lifting/carrying, pushing/pulling, standing/walking and sitting
due to her lower back pain.
On May 8, 2002, Dr. Renee Ravid conducted a psychiatric
examination of Niven where she denied suicidal or homicidal
ideation. She also claimed not to have experienced delusions or
perceptual disturbances. Dr. Ravid diagnosed Niven with rule-out
dysthymic disorder and rule-out major depressive episode in
partial remission. Dr. Ravid concluded that Niven had some
impairments in her ability to respond to a work environment and
in sustaining concentration. Dr. Ravid also found that Niven had
a "reduced tolerance to stress" and mood lability. Niven,
however, had a satisfactory ability to understand, carry-out and
remember instructions. Niven stated to Dr. Ravid that she had
been approved for VESID and hoped to learn medical billing. On
July 1, Dr. Ed Kamin, a non-examining physician, found that
Niven's mental health presented no limitation in social
functioning, or activities of daily living and only mild
limitations in concentration and the ability to remember and
carry out instructions.
An MRI of Niven's cervical spine on July 16, 2002, revealed two
small disc herniations. On August 30, Niven was seen at
Bellevue's ambulatory surgery unit for complaints of back pain.
The clinical determination was a herniated disc. An examination a
month later in the ambulatory unit revealed that Niven's back was
within normal limits.
An October 1, 2002 examination revealed that her motor power
for her upper and lower extremities was normal. There was no
mention of any limitations in the report documenting this
examination. An October 1 psychiatric report diagnosed Niven with
recurrent major depression and a GAF of 60. It was noted,
however, that her mental status was "now improved" and the Niven
was enrolled in VESID. The report concluded that Niven's
condition did not restrict her activities of daily living and had
only a "mild" impact on her social functioning. The report also
stated that Niven's condition led to a deficiency in
concentration and that she was intimidated by a "drill sergeant"
instructor at VESID. Furthermore, the report noted that Niven was
able to make occupational adjustments and respond appropriately
to a supervisor, coworkers and customary work pressures. During
subsequent examinations in November 2002 and January through
March 2003, Niven continued to complain of lower back pain, but
reported a positive response to the medication Vicodin. During
this time, the findings of physical examinations did not
significantly change Niven suffered from chronic back pain but
her bilateral motor function was normal and she ambulated well.
In reviewing a decision of the Commissioner, a district court
may "enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record a
judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the
cause for rehearing." 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). A court must uphold the
Commissioner's decision unless it is not supported by substantial
evidence or is based on an error of law, Curry v.
Apfel, 209 F.3d 117, 122 (2d Cir. 2000), "keeping in mind that
it is up to the agency, and not this court, to weigh the
conflicting evidence in the record," Clark v. Commissioner of
Social Security, 143 F.3d 115, 118 (2d Cir. 1998). Substantial
evidence in this context means "more than a mere scintilla. It
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Halloran v. Barnhart,
362 F.3d 28, 31 n. 2 (2d Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). It is not the
function of the reviewing court to determine de novo whether a
claimant was disabled. Curry, 209 F.3d at 122.
To be considered disabled under the Social Security Act, a
claimant must demonstrate the "[i]nability to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected
to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last
for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C §
423(d)(1)(A). Further, the claimant's impairment must be "of such
severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but
cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience,
engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists
in the national economy." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A). The
disability must be "demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical
and laboratory diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. § 432(d)(3). The
ALJ's decision must be guided by the appropriate legal standards.
See Shaw v. Chater, 221 F.3d 126, 131 (2d Cir. 2000).
The Social Security Administration employs a five-step process
in making a disability determination. See
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520. The Second Circuit has summarized the procedure as
First, the [Commissioner] considers whether the
claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful
activity. If he is not, the [Commissioner] next
considers whether the claimant has a "severe
impairment" [that] significantly limits his physical
or mental ability to do basic work activities. If the
claimant suffers such an impairment, the third
inquiry is whether, based solely on medical evidence,
the claimant has an impairment . . . listed in
Appendix 1 of the regulations. If the claimant has
such an impairment, the [Commissioner] will consider
him disabled without considering vocational factors
such as age, education, and work experience. . . .
Assuming the claimant does not have a listed
impairment, the fourth inquiry is whether, despite
the claimant's severe impairment, he has the residual
functional capacity to perform his past work.
Finally, if the claimant is unable to perform his
past work, the [Commissioner] then determines whether
there is other work [that] the claimant could
Apfel, 209 F.3d at 122 (citation omitted).
In determining in connection with the fifth step whether the
claimant can perform other work, the ALJ first determines whether
the applicant retains the functional capacity for work-related
activities. If the applicant is subject only to
exertional,*fn8 or strength limitations, the ALJ then uses
guidelines in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2 to
cross-reference on a grid the applicant's residual capacity with
his age, education, and work experience. The grid then yields a
determination of whether there is work the applicant could
perform in the national economy. Rosa, 168 F.3d at 78; see
also Pratts v. Chater, 94 F.3d 34, 39 (2d Cir. 1996).
A claimant bears the burden of proof as to the first four
steps, while the Commissioner bears the burden in the final step.
Schaal v. Apfel, 134 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1998). In employing
this five-step process, the ALJ must consider four factors: "(1)
the objective medical facts; (2) diagnoses or medical opinions
based on such facts; (3) subjective evidence of pain or
disability testified to by the claimant or others; and (4) the
claimant's educational background, age, and work experience."
Brown v. Apfel, 174 F.3d 59, 62 (2d Cir. 1999) (citation
The ALJ first determined that Niven had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset of
disability. The ALJ next determined that the plaintiff has severe
conditions, to wit, her back condition and depression, but not
ones that are equivalent to listed impairments. At the third step
of the five-step sequential evaluation, the ALJ found that Niven
did not have an impairment that was equal in severity to one
listed in Appendix 1 of 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P. At the
fourth step, the ALJ found that Niven could perform unskilled,
sedentary work, but not her past employment as a bartender. The
ALJ then proceeded to the final step to determine what, if any,
other work Niven could undertake. Employing the grid and
considering Niven's relative youth, high school education,
vocational factors in combination with her residual functional
capacity, the ALJ determined that there was other work she could
perform in the national economy.
The Commissioner's decision denying Niven disability benefits
and Supplemental Security Income was supported by substantial
evidence and did not contain legal error. Niven makes two
arguments in favor of reversal. First, Niven contends that the
ALJ and the Commissioner failed to address evidence that she
"lacks the residual functional capacity for sedentary work" due
to back pain. The Commission was presented with, and there is,
substantial evidence that her back condition does not limit her
ability to perform sedentary work.
"Sedentary work is the least rigorous of the five categories of
work recognized by SSA regulations." Curry, 209 F.3d at 123 (2d
Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). The relevant Social Security
regulations describe sedentary work as work that "involves
lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time," "sitting," and "a
certain amount of walking or standing," and occasionally lifting
light objects. Halloran, 362 F.3d at 31 n. 2 (citing
20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a)). Sedentary work involves the capacity to sit for
"six hours in an eight-hour work day." Id. at 33; see also
Green-Younger v. Barnhart, 335 F.3d 99, 106 (2d Cir. 2003).
Walking or standing should "generally total no more than about
2 hours of an 8-hour workday." Halloran, 362 F.3d at 33
(citation omitted) (emphasis in original). Social Security
regulations regarding sedentary work do not require, however,
that the applicant be able
to sit for "six unbroken hours." Id. As in the instant case,
once an ALJ finds that a claimant has met the burden of proving
that his impairment prevents him from performing his past work,
the Commissioner bears the burden of proof that Niven can sit for
the requisite number of hours each day. Curry, 209 F.3d at 123
n. 1. Evidence that a plaintiff is capable of participating in
various activities of daily living despite allegations of severe
pain can support a determination that a plaintiff can perform
sedentary work. See Rivera v. Harris, 623 F.2d 212, 216 (2d
As the ALJ noted and her medical history reflects, Niven's back
pain was frequently diagnosed and described as "chronic," but
"minor." Nearly all of the health professionals who examined
Niven over the past three years found that her strength and
flexibility were normal and that she walked without discomfort or
a problematic gait. Niven showed virtually no signs of muscle
atrophy or neurological abnormalities and straight leg raising
tests were repeatedly negative. Niven's medical record only
reflects a few instances where Niven herself reported difficulty
sitting for long periods of time. In May 2002, Niven reported to
Dr. Mancheno that her back pain was aggravated by sitting for
more than three hours, standing for more than 60 minutes, and
walking more than 16 blocks. An inability to sit without pain for
more than three consecutive hours, however, does not prohibit a
person from performing "sedentary work" as defined by Social
In addition, Niven's medical record reflects that medicine,
rehabilitation, and acupuncture were frequently effective in
relieving her lower back pain. On October 19, 2001, Niven
indicated that despite her lower back pain she was able to
perform activities of daily living. In an April 20, 2002 report
("April 2002 Report") of her daily activities, Niven wrote that
while she has pain when she sits, she uses public transportation,
reads, and watches television. In the same report, Niven stated
that she regularly shops, cooks, and cleans without assistance as
well as that she swims and sits in a park. Niven also reported
that she could walk for one to one and one-half hours before she
would need to stop and rest and that she could walk 20-30 short
No health professional who examined Niven over the past three
years found that she was incapable of sedentary work involving
six hours of sitting and two hours of standing. Indeed, in
November 2001, Dr. Weissbart concluded that Niven was capable of
performing sedentary activity with moderate limitations. A March
2002 report concluded that Niven would soon be stable enough to
return to gainful employment and that Niven could perform "light,
sedentary work" including lifting up to 15 pounds. In May 2002,
Dr. Mancheno concluded the same thing Niven only has mild
limitations on lifting/carrying, pushing/pulling,
standing/walking and sitting.
Niven's second argument is that the ALJ erred in relying on the
grid to determine whether there was sedentary work that she could
perform since her impairments included a non-exertional
component, to wit, her depression, which significantly diminished
her potential range of work. This argument must fail. The ALJ
considered Niven's depression, determined it was not significant,
and thus, properly relied on the grid in determining that she was
capable of sedentary work.
"[T]he mere existence of a non-exertional impairment does not
automatically require the production of a vocational expert nor
preclude reliance on the guidelines." Bapp v. Bowen,
802 F.2d 601, 603 (2d Cir. 1986). Sole reliance on the grids may be
precluded, however, "where the claimant's exertional impairments
are compounded by significant nonexertional impairments that
limit the range of sedentary work that the claimant can perform."
Rosa, 168 F.2d at 78; see also Pratts, 94 F.3d at 39
("where the claimant's work capacity is significantly diminished
beyond that caused by his exertional impairment the application
of the grids is inappropriate"). A claimant's work capacity is
"significantly diminished if there is an additional loss of work
capacity that so narrows a claimant's possible range of work as
to deprive him of a meaningful employment opportunity." Pratts,
94 F.3d at 39 (citation omitted). When a claimant's
non-exertional impairments significantly diminish her ability to
work, "the Commissioner must introduce the testimony of a
vocational expert (or other similar evidence) that jobs exist in
the economy which claimant can obtain or perform." Id.
Here, the ALJ identified and considered Niven's non-exertional
impairment, her depression, and based on substantial evidence
determined that Niven's functional capacity for sedentary work
was not significantly reduced by her mental health and
Niven's depression was not significant enough to require
additional testimony as to potential employment opportunities. In
his decision, the ALJ outlined and considered with sufficient
detail the medical evidence regarding Niven's depression.
Although the ALJ did not expressly state that Niven's depression
was insignificant, the ALJ directly addressed the import and
impact of this non-exertional impairment. In particular, the ALJ
noted that Niven was reported to be "happy" during a December 28,
2001 examination. The ALJ also highlighted the March 4, 2002
report which stated that Niven could return to the VESID to
facilitate her gainful employment, and the October 2002 report
which noted that Niven's mental status had improved. In addition,
the ALJ considered the medical evidence, including Dr. Ravid's
May 2002 examination, that Niven did not have a significant
impairment in her activities of daily living and was able to make
occupational adjustments and respond appropriately to customary
work pressures despite her mild limitations in concentration,
persistence and pace. In evaluating the significance of Niven's
mental health, the ALJ also highlighted Niven's expressed desire
to learn medical billing and the April 2002 Report in which Niven
set forth the multitude of activities in which she engages,
including seeing her friends for lunch and spending time with her
Niven contends that the ALJ did not take into consideration
some evidence that she claims shows that her depression
significantly impaired her ability to work. In particular, Niven
points to her visit to Bellevue on June 7, 2001, Dr. Mobisson's
March 4, 2002 report, and Dr. Ravid's and Dr. Kamin's reports, as
containing evidence regarding Niven's mental health that the ALJ
failed to properly assess. This contention is unavailing. With
the exception of the Dr. Kamin's report,*fn10 the ALJ did
take into consideration and evaluate this evidence and medical
history, including portions that seemed to contradict the ALJ's
ultimate findings. While the ALJ choose not to credit Niven's
statements regarding the severity of her injury and did not
expressly outline all the evidence regarding Niven's mental
health, it is well-settled that the ALJ is not required to
"reconcile explicitly every conflicting shred of medical
testimony." Fiorello v. Heckler, 725 F.2d 174, 176 (2d Cir.
1983); see also Clark, 143 F.3d at 118 ("it is up to the
agency, and not this court, to weigh the conflicting evidence in
the record"); Mimms v. Heckler, 750 F.2d 180, 186 (2d Cir.
1984) (the ALJ's credibility determination is subject to
Niven's motion for a judgment on the pleadings is denied. The
Government's cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings is
granted. The Clerk of Court shall close the case.
*fn11 The essential feature of a major depressive episode "is a
period of at least two weeks during which there is either
depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all
activities." See 26 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 1 (2003).
*fn12 Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulations No. 4 is a list of "per
se disabling" impairments. If a claimant's injuries are found to
be a "per se disabling" impairment, then the claimant is disabled
within the meaning of the Social Security Act.
*fn13 As discussed infra, at the fifth step in evaluating
whether a claimant is disabled for the purposes of the Social
Security Act, the ALJ makes a determination if there is some type
of work a claimant can perform.
*fn14 The DSM-IV multiaxial scale assesses an individual's mental
and physical condition on five axes, each of which addresses
distinct areas. Axis I refers to clinical disorders; Axis II
refers to developmental and personality disorders; Axis III
refers to general medical conditions; Axis IV refers to
psychosocial and environmental problems; and Axis V describes the
individual's global assessment of functioning ("GAF").
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 27 (4th
ed. text rev. 2000). A GAF of 60 reflects the highest range of
functioning within moderate symptoms of deficiencies in social,
occupational, or school functioning.
*fn15 VESID is operated by the New York State Department of
Education and provides vocational rehabilitation. See
*fn16 It is unclear which physician at Bellevue wrote this March
4 report. The Commissioner contends that Dr. Mobisson is
responsible for this report, but the document contains a stamp
indicating that it was compiled by a "medical records physician,"
and not Dr. Mobisson.
*fn17 Muscle strength is usually graded on a scale of 0 to 5,
ranging from no movement (0) to normal movement (5). See The
Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 1347 (17th ed. 1999).
*fn18 Exertional and non-exertional limitations are defined as
An exertional limitation is a limitation or
restriction imposed by impairments and related
symptoms, such as pain, that affect only a claimant's
ability to meet the strength demands of jobs (i.e.,
sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying,
pushing, and pulling). A nonexertional limitation is
one imposed by the claimant's impairments that affect
her ability to meet the requirements of jobs other
than strength demands, and includes manipulative
impairments and pain.
Rosa v. Callahan, 168 F.3d 72
, 78 (2d Cir. 1999) (citation
*fn19 While Niven stated in the April 2002 Report that she was
depressed and "stress sometimes get to me," she reported that she
had no difficulty paying attention, finishing tasks that she
starts, and getting along with people in authority. Niven also
wrote that she can follow spoken and written instructions.
*fn20 With respect to Dr. Kamin, a non-examining consulting
psychologist, his report, if anything, lends support to the ALJ's
conclusion that Niven's mental condition did not so narrow her
possible range of work as to deprive her of a meaningful
employment opportunity. Dr. Kamin found that Niven had no
limitations in activities of daily living. Dr. Kamin also found
that Niven was not significantly limited in most of the
categories of work function considered by the Social Security
Administration. In addition, as noted by Niven herself in her
moving papers, to the extent that Dr. Kamin indicated that, among
other things, Niven was moderately limited in her capacity to
remember and carry out detailed instructions, his report provided
no explanation or actual medical evidence for his findings.
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